Ragnarok - The Viking Apocalypse


Reviewed by: Jennie Kermode

Ragnarok - Viking Apocalypse
"An old fashioned adventure with some great action sequences and a lot of heart."

With talk of an Indiana Jones reboot in the works, it seems most people agree that it's time we had more ambitious archaeologist heroes uncovering deadly secrets whilst in pursuit of spectacular ancient artefacts. This Norwegian film delivers on all counts and gives us prehistoric monsters into the bargain. It's an old fashioned adventure with some great action sequences and a lot of heart.

Pål Sverre Hagen is Sigurd, a man whose enthusiasm for his profession threatens to deny him a place in it. He's also trying to get by as a single dad with kids who resent taking second place. So when a friend brings him a remarkable find that lets him translate an ancient message, he takes the kids along on his quest to find out more. En route they pick up a multi-talented assistant academic (Sofia Helin) and an obstreperous old local man who grudgingly takes them into a long neglected post-war no man's land. There they travel to an island, climb down into a cave, and find a lot more than they bargained for.

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Though it's fairly straightforward for a tale of its kind and you'll see every twist coming a mile off, there's a lot of fun to be had here. Adults won't find the kids too annoying (being Norwegian, they're expected to have basic survival skills and not be too dependent) and kids won't find the adults too boring. There are some strong set pieces and good technical work means the film looks and sounds much better than its budget might suggest. Hagen makes a charming hero and Helin gives us a tough-as-nails heroine, getting the best of the really tough action scenes.

There are some scary scenes here for younger kids so be prepared to talk it through with them afterwards, but the film's general sense of fairness as good triumphs over evil will reassure them, as will the presentation of children as active participants rather than helpless objects of rescue drama. It's easy to engage with at any age and strong action direction means you'll be on the edge of your seat for some scenes. The monsters may have a degree of B-movie charm but the whole is played remarkably straight and believable character relationships make it dramatically far more compelling. It may not quite be blockbuster material but it's a ripping yarn that would be hard not to enjoy.

Reviewed on: 28 Jan 2015
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An archaeologist takes his kids to explore the remains of a Viking expedition, but what they find is something much more ancient - and still alive.

Director: Mikkel Brænne Sandemose

Writer: John Kåre Raake

Starring: Sofia Helin, Pal Sverre Hagen, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Bjorn Sundquist

Year: 2014

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: 12 - Age Restricted

Country: Norway


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